Christopher Poole, founder of 4chan, was recently hired to fill a prominent position with Google’s social media site, Google+. Can big changes be far behind?
It isn’t news that Google+, Google’s social media site, is a distant second to industry leader Facebook. At the end of 2015, Google+ had about 418 million active users. Facebook had over twice that number at 934 million. Looking to increase its market share, Google has recruited Christopher Poole, creator of the popular social media site 4chan. 4chan has a huge presence on the web, with claims that it sees 22 million users a day.
4chan’s popularity isn’t all glowing, however. The site made headlines in 2014 when nude photos of several female celebrities, including actress Jennifer Lawrence, were posted on the site by hackers. Because of this and other questionable content on the site, some have labeled 4chan a gathering place for undesirable Internet users. This stigma may follow Poole to his new position at Google. He ran the site from its creation twelve years ago until selling it to Japanese social media expert Hiroyuki Nishimura at the beginning of last year.
Google doesn’t seem to think this is a huge risk, however. It’s doubtful many casual Internet users will have heard for 4chan much less its creator. Clearly Poole knows how to manage a successful social media site, as 4chan’s purported user counts show. Despite devoted proponents, Google+ doesn’t have nearly the visibility other social media outlets. Social media linking to Google+ isn’t ubiquitous, unlike competitors Facebook or Twitter. Poole may be able to turn this around for Google+. What form these changes will take is anyone’s guess right now, but it’s a safe bet we won’t have to wait long to see them.